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News Article | March 1, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Humans: The greatest contributor to diversity of minerals since oxygen; Officially recognized minerals, formed by nature: More than 5,000; Formed due to human activity: 208 Human industry and ingenuity has done more to diversify and distribute minerals on Earth than any development since the rise of oxygen over 2.2 billion years ago, experts say in a paper published today. The work bolsters the scientific argument to officially designate a new geological time interval distinguished by the pervasive impact of human activities: the Anthropocene Epoch. In the paper, published by American Mineralogist, a team led by Robert Hazen of the Carnegie Institution for Science identifies for the first time a group of 208 mineral species that originated either principally or exclusively due to human activities. That's almost 4% of the roughly 5,200 minerals officially recognized by the International Mineralogical Association (IMA). Most of the recognized minerals attributed to human activities originated through mining -- in ore dumps, through the weathering of slag, formed in tunnel walls, mine water or timbers, or through mine fires. Six were found on the walls of smelters; three formed in a geothermal piping system. Some minerals formed due to human actions can also occur naturally. Three in that category were discovered on corroded lead artifacts aboard a Tunisian shipwreck, two on bronze artifacts in Egypt, and two on tin artifacts in Canada. Four were discovered at prehistoric sacrificial burning sites in the Austrian mountains. According to the paper, the first great 'punctuation event' in the history of Earth's mineral diversity occurred more than 2 billion years ago when the increase of oxygen in the atmosphere -- 'the Great Oxidation' -- gave rise to as many as two-thirds of the more than 5,200 mineral species officially recognized today. Says Dr. Hazen, who co-wrote the paper with Edward Grew of the University of Maine, and Marcus Origlieri and Robert Downs of the University of Arizona: "Mineral evolution has continued throughout Earth's history. It has taken 4.5 billion years for combinations of elements to meet naturally on Earth at a specific location, depth and temperature, and to form into the more than 5,200 minerals officially recognized today. The majority of these have arisen since the Great Oxidation event 2 billion years ago. " "Within that collection of 5,200 are 208 minerals produced directly or indirectly by human activities, mostly since the mid-1700s, and we believe that others continue to be formed at that same relatively blazing pace. To imagine 250 years relative to 2 billion years, that's the difference between the blink of an eye (one third of a second) and one month." "Simply put, we live in an era of unparalleled inorganic compound diversification," says Dr. Hazen. "Indeed, if the Great Oxidation eons ago was a 'punctuation event' in Earth's history, the rapid and extensive geological impact of the Anthropocene is an exclamation mark." A mineral species is defined as a naturally occurring crystalline compound that has a unique combination chemical composition and crystal structure. As of February, 2017, the IMA had approved 5,208 species (see rruff.info/ima for a complete list). The authors of the recent paper argue that with so many minerals and mineral-like compounds owing their origin to human activities, "a more comprehensive understanding and analysis of the mineralogical nature of the Anthropocene Epoch is warranted." Humanity has had a major impact on diversity and distribution in the mineral world in three principal ways, according to the paper: 1 a) Manufacturing synthetic "mineral-like" compounds, and b) causing minerals to form as an unintentional byproduct of human activity a) Directly creating synthetic mineral-like compounds such as YAG (yttrium aluminum garnet) crystals used in lasers, silicon "chips" for semi-conductors, carbide grits for abrasives, and various specialty metals and alloys for magnets, machine parts, and tools. Other examples include bricks, earthenware, porcelain, glass and limestone-based Portland cement -- the world's most common form of cement, used in concrete, mortar, stucco and grout -- a combination of calcium silicates, calcium sulfates, and other compounds b) Indirectly contributing to the formation of new minerals through mining, with new compounds appearing on mine walls or in mine dumps, for example. Of special interest are minerals found associated with ancient lead-zinc mining localities, including some possibly dating from the Bronze Age, and others from as far back as 300 AD.? In addition to creating new compounds, human activities such as mining and the transport of stone blocks, rocks, sediments, and minerals from their original location to help build roads, bridges, waterways, monuments, kitchen counters, and other human infrastructure, rivals in scale nature's redistribution such as via glaciers. Mining operations, meanwhile, have stripped the near-surface environment of ores and fossil fuels, leaving large open pits, tunnel complexes, and, in the case of strip mining, sheared off mountaintops. Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and a host of semi-precious stones, accompanied by concentrations of gold, silver, and platinum, are found in shops and households in every corner of the globe. Collections of fine mineral specimens juxtapose mineral species that would not occur naturally in combination. From modest beginner collector sets of more common minerals to the world's greatest museums, these collections, if buried in the stratigraphic record and subsequently unearthed in the distant future, "would reveal unambiguously the passion of humans for the beauty and wonder of the mineral kingdom," the paper says. Says Dr. Downs: "Given humanity's pervasive influences on the environment, there must be hundreds of as yet unrecognized 'minerals' in old mines, smelters, abandoned buildings, and other sites. Meanwhile, new suites of compounds may now be forming in, for example, solid waste dumps where old batteries, electronics, appliances, and other high-tech discards are exposed to weathering and alteration." Adds Dr. Origlieri: "In the sediment layers left behind from our age, future mineralogists will find plentiful building materials such as bricks, cinder blocks, and cement, metal alloys such as steel, titanium, and aluminum, along with many lethal radioactive byproducts of the nuclear age. They might also marvel at some beautiful manufactured gemstones, like cubic zirconia, moissanite, synthetic rubies, and many others." Says Dr. Grew: "These minerals and mineral-like compounds will be preserved in the geological record as a distinctive, globally-distributed horizon of crystalline novelty--a persistent marker that marks our age as different from all that came before." Calclacite, described by a Belgium-based scientist in 1959, and which originated in an old oak storage cabinet for mineral specimens at the Royal Museum of Natural History, Brussels, is an officially recognized mineral that wouldn't qualify today; in 1998 the IMA decided to disallow any substance "made by Man." Other recognized anthropogenic minerals in this category include several slag-related minerals as well as a pair from Russia, niobocarbide and tantalcarbide, which some experts believe may have been a hoax -- "a laboratory product ... deliberately passed off as a natural material" in the early 1900s. Though unlikely to pass scrutiny today, says Dr. Grew, previously recognized minerals such as these, rather than being invalidated, have been allowed to remain in the IMA catalog. The IMA did agree to recognize a mineral in cases "in which human intervention in the creation of a substance is less direct." The origin of up to 29 forms of carbon: humanity Of the 208 human-mediated minerals identified by the Deep Carbon Observatory researchers, 29 contain carbon. Origins and forms, along with movements and quantities, are four themes of the DCO (deepcarbon.net). Dr. Hazen is the DCO's Executive Director. Now we know that as many as 29 carbon minerals originated with human activities, of which 14 have no recorded natural occurrences. It is fair, therefore, to consider the 14 as the youngest carbon mineral species. Among the 14, candidates for the very youngest include a dozen minerals related to uranium mines. The mineral andersonite, for example, is found in the tunnels of certain abandoned uranium mines in the American Southwest. At places along the tunnel walls, sandstone becomes saturated with water that contains elements that form a beautiful crust of yellow, orange and green crystals. Prized for its bright green fluorescent glow under a black light, a good sample of andersonite will fetch up to $500 from a collector. Another notable carbon-bearing mineral is tinnunculite, determined to be a product of hot gases reacting with the excrement of the Eurasian kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) at a burning coal mine in Kopeisk, Chelyabinsk, Russia. It was subsequently discovered also on Russia's Mt. Rasvumchorr -- an entirely natural occurrence. Tinnunculite is one of eight new minerals identified as part of the Deep Carbon Observatory's Carbon Mineral Challenge, launched in 2015 to track down an estimated 145 carbon-bearing minerals yet to be formally recognized. The IMA recognized tinnunculite as a mineral in 2015. Inadvertently produced or human-mediated minerals, occurring or suspected to occur in nature Although yet to be confirmed by the International Union of Geological Sciences, there is growing advocacy for formal recognition of the "Anthropocene Epoch," the successor of the Holocene Epoch, which began some 11,500 years ago when the most recent ice age glaciers began to retreat. Epochs are normally separated by significant changes in the rock layers to which they correspond. A 35-member Working Group on the Anthropocene (WGA) recommended formal designation of the epoch Anthropocene to the International Geological Congress on 29 August 2016. It may be several years before a final decision is reached.? Robert Hazen is Senior Staff Scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, DC, and Executive Director of the Deep Carbon Observatory Edward Grew is a Research Professor, Earth and Climate Sciences, University of Maine Marcus Origlieri is a Research Associate, University of Arizona Robert Downs is a Professor of Geosciences specializing in mineralogy and crystallography, University of Arizona


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

As darkness descended over the Peruvian Amazon in 2006, my wife and I listened spellbound while our guide told us the grisly story of the jaguar and giant anteater. Eyewitnesses, our guide insisted, had found the two foes dead together, embracing like lovers but in mutual destruction – the jaguar’s jaw still drooped around the anteater’s neck where it had pierced its prey’s artery and the anteater’s ten-centimeter-long claws still embedded in the big cat’s flanks. Later, after the spell – and liquor – wore off, I thought it was probably a tall tale, something to tell tourists after the sun sets over the world’s greatest jungle and you’ve all had a few too many. But an incredible new camera trap video proves I may have been wrong to doubt. The video captures 12 hair-raising seconds of a giant anteater going toe-to-toe with a jaguar – a battle rarely, if ever – seen by human eyes. Taken in Gurupi Biological Reserve in the state of Brazilian state of Maranhão as a part of a survey on jaguars, it shows just how agile and deft a giant anteater can be, like a gangly martial arts master. “I was in the office, sorting out thousands of camera trap videos, which is really cool but can get a bit boring after the umpteenth time,” Elildo Carvalho Jr., a researcher with the Brazilian National Research Centre for Carnivore Conservation (CENAP). said. “And then, this insane image suddenly jumps out of [the] screen... I felt captured by the incredible [video]. I watched it again and again…Then I called my colleagues, proudly announcing that they would see something [they’d] never seen before.” In the video we can see the raw physicality – and danger – of such an encounter for both of these threatened and declining species. But, according to Carvalho, we’ll never know how it turned out. “There were no clues on site, besides we retrieved the camera a month after the event and only saw the footage long after.” Carvalho believes the two animals probably sized each up and then went on their way, neither willing to test the others’ mettle. Scientists have long known that jaguars prey on giant anteaters, but it’s thought that they usually target small or young giant anteaters to avoid a potentially fatal mistake. One study in 2010 found that giant anteater made up only 3.2 percent of jaguar prey in the Pantanal. But some jaguars – it seems – may be giant anteater specialists. A study in Brazil’s vast grasslands, known as the cerrado, actually found that an astounding 75 percent of jaguar prey was giant anteaters. Jaguars and giant anteaters actually share three ecosystems – the Amazon, the cerrado and the Pantanal – and how they interact may well depend on the habitat and other prey availability. “The frequency and outcome of [jaguar and giant anteaters] encounters are unknown,” Carvalho said. “Fighting a dangerous prey is always undesirable, so it is reasonable to assume that the jaguar will prefer to attack giant anteaters by surprise and from behind to avoid any trouble.” He said that battles like the one captured by his camera trap probably only occur when the jaguar messes up its attack or the two animals run into each other unsuspectingly. But there is at least one camera trap photo of a jaguar carrying a large-bodied, slain giant anteater – not a juvenile – in its maw, proving that sometimes these encounters do end in at least one fatality. The photo isn’t from the Amazon rainforest, but the cerrado. It’s also not difficult to believe that a giant anteater could actually slay a jaguar. An adult giant anteater can weigh over 40 kilograms – about the size of a small female jaguar – and they will not hesitate to fight when attacked. Like a velociraptor – whose fossilized bones were once discovered in a death grip with a protoceratops – giant anteaters know how to use their spectacular claws. Only the anteater’s are nearly twice as long as the famed dinosaur’s. Despite it’s somewhat awkward appearance, Carvalho said a giant anteater was “not something to mess with on a dark night.” In 2012, a man hunting with his two sons and their dogs cornered a giant anteater in Amazonian Brazil. The anteater went into defensive mode, standing with forelimbs and claws splayed. “The hunter did not fire his rifle because of concern about accidentally shooting his dogs,” reads a report published in Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. “He approached the animal armed with a knife, but was grabbed by its forelimbs.” Pierced by the long claws, the man bled to death at the scene, while one of his sons, who was also injured, shot the giant anteater five times in order to kill it. Still, such incidents are notable because they are so rare. “In Brazil there are no aggressive wild animals, they are not used to [attacking] humans,” said Danilo Kluyber, Head Veterinarian with the Giant Armadillo Conservation Project and Research Associate at Naples Zoo, said. He should know. Kluyber spends his days capturing and sedating giant anteaters and giant armadillos in order to put tracking collars on them to better understand these little-studied megafauna. “The capture is the most stressful moment to any wild species, because it means death for them and they will fight for it spending all their energy to survive,” he explained. “During this moment giant anteaters can cause severe injuries to human with their sharp and big claws, their only way to defend themselves. During the giant anteaters capture procedures we use two nets and a safe anesthetic protocol applied right after the individual is immobilized with the nets.” He said that animals like giant anteaters are only dangerous when cornered and such events usually only occur when humans are trying to hunt them. Jaguar attacks on humans are also incredibly rare. Jaguars have never been known to become so-called ‘man-eaters’ like some tigers and lions that begin to specialize on hunting people. A jaguar could easily kill humans – it has the strongest bit force of any cat on the planet – it just prefers to avoid us at all costs. As with pretty much every species on the planet (aside from arguably malarial mosquitoes), humans are far more dangerous to giant anteaters and jaguars than they could ever be to us. The IUCN Red List catgorises the jaguar as Near Threatened with extinction while the giant anteater is Vulnerable. Since these two wide-ranging species share many of the same ecosystems, they also share many of the same existential threats. Number one is habitat destruction. Humans have destroyed about a fifth of the Brazilian Amazon in the last forty years. And the current Brazilian government is in the process of eroding protections that actually helped Brazil dramatically slow deforestation over the last 15 years. The cerrado, a lesser-known grassland that covers 20 percent of Brazil, is in even worse shape. Half of the ecosystem has been lost to vast soy farms and cattle ranches. At the same time, little of the cerrado has actually been set aside as protected areas. Meanwhile, a study in 2012 estimated that humans have deforested 15 percent of the Pantanal – the world’s largest wetland – for cattle ranching and intensive agriculture. Jaguars also face a drastically depleted prey base as many forests and ecosystems are overhunted. The big cats are commonly persecuted as pests on ranches, and, although rarely killed for their skins anymore, they are still poached for their body parts – paws and teeth – to be sold illegally. In contrast, giant anteaters – considered one level more threatened than jaguars – are hunted as bushmeat throughout their range. Scientists are also just realizing how imperiled the species – and other Brazilian wildlife – are by collisions with cars. “Shockingly, giant anteaters are among the top species killed on these roads, and road mortalities pose a serious threat to long-term population viability,” Kluyber said, pointing to a not-yet published study that recorded 135 giant anteaters killed by car collisions in the cerrado. The species was one of the top three animals killed by cars and made up over 10 percent of all mortality. Habitat in the cerrado is “highly fragmented,” Kluyber said, which forces animals to move long distances and frequently cross numerous roads. But even as populations of jaguars and giant anteaters decline, we are seeing more of them than ever before – we are learning more than we ever knew. All thanks to the invention of a camera that takes pictures or video when an animal triggers an infrared sensor, the modern day camera trap. “Camera-traps are revolutionizing our understanding of cryptic rainforest animals,” Carvalho said. “They are allowing us to get information on the distribution, abundance, activity patterns and behaviour of these species which would be impossible to obtain otherwise.” But camera traps may prove good for more than science. They could also be a largely-untapped, but potentially huge, resource to get the public to see species anew and to actually care about their survival, especially those cryptic, rarely-seen in person species. For example, it was only using camera traps that Planet Earth II was able to get its stunning videos of snow leopards. For many species, the first time they’ve ever been caught on film was because of a camera trap hidden in a forest somewhere. “With a little luck, [camera traps] also give us beautiful photos or amazing videos such as this one,” Carvalho said. The opportunity now is for conservationists to somehow use their photos and videos to raise awareness as well as gain supporters and funds. Scientists have proven endlessly creative in using camera traps to gather data, but using them as PR tools for saving species has not jumped into the mainstream. Indeed, camera traps are revealing lost worlds – hundreds-of-thousands of lost worlds – to scientists. The images and videos coming from the uncountable number of camera traps sitting around the world every day are as incredible and impressive as anything coming out of NASA. For, in an age in which we think we know everything, they prove just how little – how very little – we know about the planet we actually inhabit, how much there remains to learn and discover, and how much we have to lose.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

CAMBRIDGE, MA - Sequencing messenger RNA molecules from individual cells offers a glimpse into the lives of those cells, revealing what they're doing at a particular time. However, the equipment required to do this kind of analysis is cumbersome and not widely available. MIT researchers have now developed a portable technology that can rapidly prepare the RNA of many cells for sequencing simultaneously, which they believe will enable more widespread use of this approach. The new technology, known as Seq-Well, could allow scientists to more easily identify different cell types found in tissue samples, helping them to study how immune cells fight infection and how cancer cells respond to treatment, among other applications. "Rather than trying to pick one marker that defines a cell type, using single-cell RNA sequencing we can go in and look at everything a cell is expressing at a given moment. By finding common patterns across cells, we can figure out who those cells are," says Alex K. Shalek, the Hermann L.F. von Helmholtz Career Development Assistant Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, an assistant professor of chemistry, and a member of MIT's Institute for Medical Engineering and Science. Shalek and his colleagues have spent the past several years developing single-cell RNA sequencing strategies. In the new study, he teamed up with J. Christopher Love, an associate professor of chemical engineering at MIT's Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, to create a new version of the technology that can rapidly analyze large numbers of cells, with very simple equipment. "We've combined his technologies with some of ours in a way that makes it really accessible for researchers who want to do this type of sequencing on a range of different clinical samples and settings," Love says. "It overcomes some of the barriers that are facing the adoption of these techniques more broadly." Love and Shalek are the senior authors of a paper describing the new technique in the Feb. 13 issue of Nature Methods. The paper's lead authors are Research Associate Todd Gierahn and graduate students Marc H. Wadsworth II and Travis K. Hughes. Most cells in the human body express only a fraction of the genes found in their genome. Those genes are copied into molecules of messenger RNA, also known as RNA transcripts, which direct the cells to build specific proteins. Each cell's gene expression profile varies depending on its function. Sequencing the RNA from many individual cells of a blood or tissue sample offers a way to distinguish the cells based on patterns of gene expression. This gives scientists the opportunity to determine cell functions, including their roles in disease or response to treatment. Key to sequencing large populations of cells is keeping track of which RNA transcripts came from which cell. The earliest techniques for this required sorting the cells into individual tubes or compartments of multiwell plates, and then separately transforming each into a sequencing library. That process works well but can't handle large samples containing thousands of cells, such as blood samples or tissue biopsies, and costs between $25 and $35 per cell. Shalek and others have recently developed microfluidic techniques to help automate and parallelize the process considerably, but the amount of equipment required makes it impossible to be easily transported. Shalek and Love, who have worked on other projects together, realized that technology Love had previously developed to analyze protein secretions from single cells could be adapted to do single-cell RNA sequencing rapidly and inexpensively using a portable device. Over the past several years, Love's lab has developed a microscale system that can isolate individual cells and measure the antibodies and other proteins that each cell secretes. The device resembles a tiny ice cube tray, with individual compartments for each cell. Love also developed a process known as microengraving that uses these trays, which can hold tens of thousands of cells, to measure each cell's protein secretions. To use this approach for sequencing RNA, the researchers created arrays of nanowells that each capture a single cell plus a barcoded bead to capture the RNA fragments. The nanowells are sealed with a semipermeable membrane that allows the passage of chemicals needed to break the cells apart, while the RNA stays contained. After the RNA binds to the beads, it is removed and sequenced. Using this process, the cost per cell is less than $1. Similar to previous single-cell RNA sequencing techniques, the Seq-Well process captures and analyzes about 10 to 15 percent of the total number of RNA transcripts per cell. "That is still a very rich set of information that maps to several thousand genes," Love says. "If you look at sets of these genes, you can start to understand the identity of those cells based on the sets of genes that are expressed in common." In this paper, the researchers used Seq-Well to analyze immune cells called macrophages, which were infected with tuberculosis, allowing them to identify different pre-existing populations and responses to infection. Shalek and members of his lab also brought the technology to South Africa and analyzed tissue samples from TB- and HIV-infected patients there. "Having a simple system that can go everywhere I think is going to be incredibly empowering," Shalek says. Love's lab is now using this approach to analyze immune cells from people with food allergies, which could help researchers determine why some people are more likely to respond well to therapies designed to treat their allergies. "There are still a lot of unknowns in chronic diseases, and these types of tools help you uncover new insights," Love says. The research team has also joined forces with clinical investigators at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center to apply this technology toward the discovery of new combination immunotherapies to treat cancer as part of the Bridge Project partnership. The research was funded by the Searle Scholars Program, the Beckman Young Investigator Program, an NIH New Innovator Award, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ragon Institute, the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation, the W.M. Keck Foundation, the U.S. Army Research Office through MIT's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, and the Koch Institute Support Grant from the National Cancer Institute.


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ--(Marketwired - Feb 16, 2017) -  PolarityTE™, Inc., ( : COOL) today announced it has appointed Jon Mogford, PhD to the Board of Directors. Dr. Mogford has extensive experience in regenerative medicine and wound healing, with a long track record of leading large research institutions. He currently oversees research strategy as Vice Chancellor for Research across the entire Texas A&M University System, and led significant expansion and collaborations while serving as Deputy Director of the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the U.S. Department of Defense. "We are excited to announce Dr. Jon Mogford as a new member of the PolarityTE™ Board of Directors. Dr. Mogford's DARPA led programs in wound healing, hemostatic biomaterials, and bioreactor production of universal donor red blood cells provide critical insight to the PolarityTE™ team. In addition, Dr. Mogford spearheaded a joint collaboration between DARPA, the FDA, and the NIH, which speaks volumes to his abilities to create strategic partnerships and work with the government agencies. The appointment of Dr. Mogford is an instrumental step toward achieving our goals, and adds a uniquely new pillar to our team," said Denver Lough, MD, PhD, Chairman and CEO. Newly appointed board member, Jon Mogford, PhD, remarked, "I am thrilled to join the Polarity team and its Board of Directors. Polarity's regenerative platform takes a remarkably new approach to tissue engineering, and changes the very principles that built the field. There are a significant number of patients that can benefit from this technology, and I include wounded warriors and veterans high on that list. Given this opportunity to join the Polarity team, I will utilize my background to help translate and commercially scale the products being developed by Polarity, for both the civilian and military world." During December 2016 PolarityTE™ entered into an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization to acquire certain intellectual property rights developed by Dr. Lough. Completion of the acquisition is subject to a number of conditions, including stockholder approval. There can be no assurance that the conditions will be met or that the acquisition will be successful. The acquisition, and our business generally, is subject to a number of risks that are more fully described under "Risk Factors" that appear in our filings and reports with the SEC. About Jon Mogford, PhD Dr. Mogford serves as the Vice Chancellor for Research for The Texas A&M University System and provides research and development leadership to the System's eleven universities and seven state agencies encompassing 30,000 faculty and staff, 135,000 students, a budget of more than $4 billion and research expenditures of more than $945 million annually. As the leader of the A&M System Office of Research, Dr. Mogford develops strategic partnerships with external agencies, foundations, academic institutions, and commercial corporations to enhance the system's mission of research, teaching, service, and economic development for the state of Texas. Prior to joining the Texas A&M University System in 2011, Dr. Mogford served as a program manager and then Deputy Director of the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the U.S. Department of Defense. As DSO Deputy Director, he provided strategic planning and implementation of $400M/year in R&D in the physical, biomedical and material sciences. He provided leadership to 20 Program Managers in the development and management of office investments ranging from the fundamental sciences to commercial transition efforts for both defense and non-defense applications. Dr. Mogford led expansion of formal working relationship between DARPA and the FDA to improve the ability of each organization to meet mission goals, which was highlighted as a DARPA-FDA-NIH partnership by the White House. Dr. Mogford is a recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. His DARPA programs included scar-free regeneration of wounds, metabolic control strategies for survival of severe blood loss, biomarker-responsive biomaterials for drug delivery, stem cell-based bioreactor production of universal donor red blood cells, computational design of novel proteins, and active hemostatic biomaterials for treatment internal and external wounds. He has authored or co-authored 29 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Mogford obtained his bachelor's degree in Zoology from Texas A&M University and doctorate in Medical Physiology from the Texas A&M University Health Science Center, College Station, Texas. His research in vascular physiology continued at the University of Chicago as a Postdoctoral fellow from 1997-98. Dr. Mogford transitioned his research focus to the field of wound healing at Northwestern University, both as a Research Associate and also as a Research Assistant Professor from 1998-2003. Dr. Mogford served as a Life Sciences Consultant to DARPA on the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program from 2003-2005. About PolarityTE™, Inc. PolarityTE™, Inc. is the owner of a novel regenerative medicine and tissue engineering platform developed and patented by Denver Lough MD, PhD. This radical and proprietary technology employs a patients' own cells for the healing of full-thickness functionally-polarized tissues. If clinically successful, the PolarityTE™ platform will be able to provide medical professionals with a truly new paradigm in wound healing and reconstructive surgery by utilizing a patient's own tissue substrates for the regeneration of skin, bone, muscle, cartilage, fat, blood vessels and nerves. It is because PolarityTE™ uses a natural and biologically sound platform technology, which is readily adaptable to a wide spectrum of organ and tissue systems, that the company and its world-renowned clinical advisory board, are poised to drastically change the field and future of translational regenerative medicine. More information can be found online at www.polarityte.com. Forward Looking Statements Certain statements contained in this release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward looking statements contained in this release relate to, among other things, the Company's ongoing compliance with the requirements of The NASDAQ Stock Market and the Company's ability to maintain the closing bid price requirements of The NASDAQ Stock Market on a post reverse split basis. They are generally identified by words such as "believes," "may," "expects," "anticipates," "should'" and similar expressions. Readers should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which are based upon the Company's beliefs and assumptions as of the date of this release. The Company's actual results could differ materially due to risk factors and other items described in more detail in the "Risk Factors" section of the Company's Annual Reports and other filings with the SEC (copies of which may be obtained at www.sec.gov). Subsequent events and developments may cause these forward-looking statements to change. The Company specifically disclaims any obligation or intention to update or revise these forward-looking statements as a result of changed events or circumstances that occur after the date of this release, except as required by applicable law.


News Article | February 17, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Soil nematodes Caenorhabditis elegans are very small roundworms that are studied with microscopy. They are widely used as model organisms in genetics, neurophysiology, and developmental and quantitative biology research. Their cuticle is a fitting testing material for toxicology and medication screening. In a new study, researchers report for the first time the effective imaging of the nanoscale structure of C. elegans nematodes' cuticle using atomic force microscopy operating in PeakForce Tapping mode. Research Associate Farida Akhatova explained, «Before the experiments we obtained traditional SEM images of nematodes. Unfortunately, the preparatory procedures sometimes do not allow to preserve a worm's body and alters the properties of their cuticle. AFM demonstrates typical morphological properties of epicuticle in high definition. However, the enhanced scanning also shows irregularities that appear on specimens' surfaces because of dehydration. Here we show AFM imaging in water for the first time. Although almost everything had been known about its surface anatomy, there are several peculiarities that had not yet been found out before the research».


Advanced biofuels will nearly double in five years to 9.6 billion gallons per year as first-generation fuels like traditional biodiesel lose out to newer low-carbon fuels, says Lux Research BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - February 14, 2017) - New biofuel technology is finally starting to push aside traditional biofuels like first-generation biodiesel. New facilities based on non-food feedstocks and producing novel fuels account for over half of new capacity deployment for the first time in the biofuel industry's history, according to Lux Research. However, overall output will grow at a slower pace to 67 billion gallons a year (BGY) in 2022, from 59 BGY in 2016. "A new era of technology commercialization has brought the global biofuels industry to the cusp of a tipping point, as new facilities target low-carbon and high-performance drop-in biofuels," said Runeel Daliah, Lux Research Associate and lead author of the report titled, "Biofuels Outlook 2022: The Dawn of a New Era in Global Biofuel Capacity Expansion." "With many of the technologies capable of producing advanced biofuels still at demonstration scale, the next five years will be critical as companies raise capital, establish value chain security and produce commercial volumes as these projects come online," he added. Lux Research analysts quantified the commercial deployment of new technologies in the global biofuels industry using a database of nearly 2,000 facilities from 1,461 companies in 90 countries with nameplate capacity data through 2022. Among their findings: The report, titled "Biofuels Outlook 2022: The Dawn of a New Era in Global Biofuel Capacity Expansion," is part of the Lux Research Alternative Fuels Intelligence service. Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on us to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through our unique research approach focused on primary research and our extensive global network, we deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to our clients. Visit www.luxresearchinc.com for more information.


News Article | February 20, 2017
Site: cleantechnica.com

This commentary was originally published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on February 13, 2017. Written in conjunction with ILSR Research Associate, Karlee Weinmann. A bipartisan group of state lawmakers, including Gov. Mark Dayton, last week endorsed Xcel Energy’s plan to build a new natural gas plant in Becker, Minn. What they’ve left out is that this project is a multibillion-dollar boondoggle. Fortunately, there’s still time to stop it. Led by Xcel and labor groups, proponents say the plan will safeguard jobs lost when Xcel shutters coal-fired generators at the site in the mid-2020s. But the new facility is projected to employ just 150 workers, roughly half the number currently employed by the coal operations. It’s hardly worth the $1 billion upfront price tag and billions more in fuel costs borne by ratepayers — especially when there are cheaper ways to protect the workers and generate the power. Last fall, when asked for their approval of Xcel’s proposed plant, regulators expressed deep skepticism that the proposed 786-megawatt gas facility is the most cost-effective option. Now, Xcel is trying to get around regulatory review and manipulate the economic fears of one Minnesota town — and the admirable desire of legislators to help — to obscure the costly reality of its proposal. Read the full commentary on the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store!   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter. John Farrell directs the Democratic Energy program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. His seminal paper, Democratizing the Electricity System, describes how to blast the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation, and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are the key to the biggest strides in renewable energy development.   Farrell also authored the landmark report Energy Self-Reliant States, which serves as the definitive energy atlas for the United States, detailing the state-by-state renewable electricity generation potential. Farrell regularly provides discussion and analysis of distributed renewable energy policy on his blog, Energy Self-Reliant States (energyselfreliantstates.org), and articles are regularly syndicated on Grist and Renewable Energy World.   John Farrell can also be found on Twitter @johnffarrell, or at jfarrell@ilsr.org.


News Article | March 1, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

New startups and dominant incumbents GE and Veolia enable a growing market for technologies that can eliminate all liquid waste from power plants and other facilities, Lux Research says BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - March 01, 2017) - Zero-liquid discharge (ZLD), an approach to wastewater treatment that prevents any liquid waste from flowing out of a power plant or factors, will grow at a 12% annual rate into a $2.7 billion market in 2030. The market will be boosted by technology innovations, rising water cost, and regulations due to growing concerns over surface water contamination, according to Lux Research. "Leading ZLD providers like GE, Veolia, and Aquatech International have a large chunk of the market, but startups with emerging technologies are addressing cost and energy issues to enable even wider adoption," said Abhirabh Basu, Lux Research Associate and lead author of the report titled, "Assessing Opportunities in the Fast-Growing Zero Liquid Discharge Market." "Advanced thermal system providers, innovative membrane distillation systems, and a group of emerging forward-osmosis startups promise to dramatically reduce the overall cost of running ZLD," he added. Lux Research compared water treatment and management technology companies on the Lux Innovation Grid, rating them on technical value, business execution, and maturity. Among their findings: The report, titled "Assessing Opportunities in the Fast-Growing Zero Liquid Discharge Market," is part of the Lux Research Water Intelligence service. Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on us to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through our unique research approach focused on primary research and our extensive global network, we deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to our clients. Visit www.luxresearchinc.com for more information.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: phys.org

The announcement was hailed as a breakthrough in optics and was named among Science Magazine's top discoveries of 2016. But the lens had a limitation – it could only focus one color at a time. Now, the same team has developed the first flat lens that works within a continual bandwidth of colors, from blue to green. This bandwidth, close to that of an LED, paves the way for new applications in imaging, spectroscopy and sensing. The research is published in Nano Letters. One of the major challenges in developing a flat, broadband lens has been correcting for chromatic dispersion, the phenomenon where different wavelengths of light are focused at different distances from the lens. "Traditional lenses for microscopes and cameras—including those in cell phones and laptops—require multiple curved lenses to correct chromatic aberrations, which adds weight, thickness and complexity," said Federico Capasso, Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering. "Our new breakthrough flat metalens has built-in chromatic aberrations corrections so that a single lens is required." Correcting for chromatic dispersion—known as dispersion engineering—is a crucial topic in optics, and an important design requirement in any optical systems that deals with light of different colors. The ability to control the chromatic dispersion of flat lenses broadens their applications and introduces new applications that have not yet been possible. "By harnessing chromatic aspects, we can have even more control over the light," said Reza Khorasaninejad, a Research Associate in the Capasso Lab and first author of the paper. "Here, we demonstrate achromatic flat lenses and also invent a new type of flat lens with reverse chromatic dispersion. We showed that one can break away from the constraints of conventional optics, offering new opportunities only bound by the designer's imagination." To design an achromatic lens—a lens without chromatic dispersion—the team optimized the shape, width, distance, and height of the nanopillars that make up the heart of the metalens. As in previous research, the researchers used abundant titanium dioxide to create the nanoscale array. This structure allows the metalens to focus wavelengths from 490 nm to 550 nm, basically from blue to green, without any chromatic dispersion. "This method for dispersion engineering can be used to design various ultrathin components with a desired performance," said Zhujun Shi, a PhD student in the Capasso Lab and co-first author of the paper. "This platform is based on single step lithography and is compatible with high throughput manufacturing technique such as nano-imprinting." Harvard's Office of Technology Development has filed patent applications on a portfolio of flat lens technologies and is working closely with Capasso and members of his research group to catalyze commercialization of this technology through a startup company. Explore further: Meta-lens works in the visible spectrum, sees smaller than a wavelength of light More information: M. Khorasaninejad et al. Achromatic Metalens over 60 nm Bandwidth in the Visible and Metalens with Reverse Chromatic Dispersion, Nano Letters (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b05137

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